Just a quickie to say that TKD misses and is envious of all the tryptophan-gobbling home folk, but we’ll do fine with souvlaki when we have our pseudo-international-Thanksgiving feast / Kristy-finished-her-thesis celebration on Saturday with good friends out here. So Happy Turkey Day to our family and friends back home, save us some of the good eats (freeze it!!).
Ahh… it’s been a while. It’s summer. We’ve been busy. Busy in Greece isn’t exactly the same thing as busy back home (or anywhere else really), but as with most things it is more a matter of perspective.
We certainly manage to keep ourselves busy in the more traditional sense: Kristy is (still!) working on her thesis, and I’ve got chunks of client web design work coming in plus some ongoing personal projects. So we’ve got enough work to, well, keep us busy.
But as they say out here, you work to live – as opposed to the “live to work” attitude that seems prevalent elsewhere. More simply, all work and no play makes TKD a boring pair – so here’s a quick update on some of our more recent avocational activities.
Kendrodasos, beach camping
First, a quick mention (which does it no justice) must be made of a trip we took in May to one of the most beautiful beaches on Crete.
Kedrodasos (literally “Cedar Forest” in English) is near Elafonissi in southwestern Crete. This was the perfect way to say goodbye to our good friend Stephane, who left Crete soon afterwards. Ata and our dear koumbaros Yiorgos joined us for the camping trip. Really, this deserves more than my words can convey – some photos and a video will have to do.
The Spice of Life
Friends are the spice of life, and summer nights should always be generously seasoned with plenty of quality time with good friends. We’ve hosted several parties at our flat in Chania with many of the usual suspects, as well as enjoying the occasional night out wandering the harbor and local tavernas.
There have of course been numerous trips to the beaches in and around Chania, but time is just as well spent meandering through the empty, quiet streets of the old town while the rest of the populace is taking their mid-day nap.
One Year Anniversary
One Year Anniversary BBQ
With July came our one year wedding anniversary on the 5th, celebrated in proper Greek fashion with lots of friends joining us for lots of food. The BBQ party that night included the introduction of marshmallow s’mores to our friends not familiar with this all-American treat. Nothing like cross-cultural education
August has been trucking along. We took an incredible camping trip to Balos beach on Gramvousa peninsula, celebrated Kristy’s birthday, and had an always wonderful visit by our dear Koumbaros Christos… but I believe these more recent events can be given greater attention in future posts.
Suffice it to say, summer in Crete has been another season in paradise and we don’t want it to end any time soon.
A follow-up to our earlier post on Easter Sunday here in Chania. Wish you could have been here in person, but perhaps you can join us vicariously… here’s how it went down.
Dinner was a success, despite on-and-off rain all day that nearly put the kibosh on our barbecue plans. We finally caught a break by mid-afternoon, as the rain stopped long enough to allow for a fire to be lit. From there, the triumvirate of BBQ masters (Ata, Stephane, and myself) went to work, while Kristy wrapped up her cooking in the kitchen (which had started hours earlier in the morning).
On the menu this evening:
Something like ratatouille (but not exactly) consisting of fava beans, eggplant, tomatoes, onions and misc. spices
Barbecued chicken, marinated in red wine, lemon juice, oregano, and salt
Barbecued lamb/pork or maybe it was pork/lamb… we actually asked the local butcher for lamb (“αρνί” στα ελληνικά) but upon inspection it may have been pork. We settled on pamb… or lork.
Homemade bread (Kristy’s been baking A LOT)
τυρόπιτα – “tyropita” or little cheese pies… yummy
Dakos – dry bread husks, topped with lots of olive oil, tomatoes, and feta cheese
Eggplant wrapped around graviera cheese
and of course… plenty of wine and beer!
For dessert, we had coffee and fattened up on a box of sweets that Stephane and Ata brought – “super sweets” is more appropriate, I think; only the Greeks would take baklava (a pastry made with chopped walnuts and almonds, cinnamon, cloves, and phyllo dough, drenched in light syrup and/or honey) and cover that in chocolate!!!
A (surrogate) Family Tradition
As I’ve said many times, the best part about living out here is the quality hang-time (usually spent drinking and BS’ing – “boro boro” as the Greeks say) with friends who literally come from all over the world.
Tonight, we had some fun discussing language and cultural idioms, and Ata taught us the Arabic names for several common vegetables (there will be an exam later).
And we explored weighty linguistic questions such as idiosyncrasies in how different languages represent the sounds animals make — just what noise does a cow make in French? In Arabic? Not “moo,” as it seems there is no international standard for “Old McDonald Had a Farm” – a topic that most certainly needs to be explored further.
We ended the night with a tradition we will try to repeat many times over our remaining time here in Crete – an official “family portrait.” Goofy exaggerated smiles (Stephane!), ugly sweaters, and embarrassing holiday hats are optional.